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What is Ulysses Syndrome that affects migrants? Causes of this psychological picture and what to do

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Ulysses Syndrome or chronic and multiple stress is a strong emotional discomfort experienced by people who have had to migrate and leave behind the world they knew in extreme situations, a psychological condition suffered by millions of people in the world.

Ulysses Syndrome takes its name from the hero of Greek mythology that Homer recreates in the Odyssey. A demigod who must face multiple dangers far from his own and who, despite his condition, suffers enormously.

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Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary migrant hero of Greek mythology. He appears as a character in the Iliad and is the protagonist and gives name to the Odyssey, both works attributed to Homer. Photo: Grafissimo

According to the Sociodemographic Study of Immigrants with Ulysses Syndrome carried out by SAPPIR, these are mostly Latin American and sub-Saharan.

These are people who have traveled to support their families, in many cases leaving their own children behind, and face extreme circumstances that exceed the ability of human beings to adapt.

Loneliness, caused by forced separation from family and loved ones, is one of the symptoms of Ulysses Syndrome. Photo: Juanmonino
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Causes of Ulysses Syndrome

Joseba Achotegui, a Spanish psychiatrist and professor at the University of Barcelona, ​​specifies the existence of four elements that trigger this syndrome:

  • Loneliness, caused by forced separation from family and loved ones.
  • The mourning for the failure of the migratory project.
  • The struggle for survival, divided into food and housing.
  • Fear of physical dangers related to travel.

Likewise, Achotegui raises the symptomatology of this syndrome:

  • Sadness, crying, low self-esteem, guilt, loss of interest and ideas of death..
  • Nervousness, tension and excessive worry.
  • Headaches and fatigue.
  • Altered memory, attention and states of confusion.
The struggle for survival, divided into food, housing and the ability to adapt to the environment that is usually hostile. Photo: DME Photography

What to do and what not to do with Ulysses Syndrome

“It is essential to create a social support network, be in contact with other immigrants and share experiences,” says Celia Arroyo. For this it is good to look for migrants of our nationality or specific support groups where we live

In this regard, Achotegui says that this means that there is “less risk of mental disorder”, but staying very anchored with our community can make it less prosperous. “If you don’t get involved in the host society, it will be difficult to progress. It’s a balance.”

In the end, it is about keeping “the root” with water, but not forgetting our leaves, the place where they receive the sun. Achotegui also recommends exercising and activities that lower stress.

Exercise is always the activity that drains unfavorable emotional situations since it releases endorphins that cause well-being and security. Photo: skynesher

Fauce remarks that “radical cuts do not work, nor do drastic decisions” either with respect to the country of origin or the host country and the relationships created in both.

Arroyo points out that, although it is difficult to give a precise time, if three months after having achieved stability the suffering we feel has not diminished, it is a good time to ask for psychological help.


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Source: Eluniverso

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